Let me start this off by saying that I'm a bit biased towards the Dropkick Murphys. I'm from Massachusetts, I absolutely love Boston sports teams (aside from the Celtics), I love punk rock, and I've got about 1/8th Irish blood running through me. I say the word "wicked" a lot. I should love the Murphys. And I do. I've seen them live more times than any other band I can remember seeing. Countless t-shirts line my drawers. I'm somewhere in the last Live On St Patrick's Day DVD.
Now let's throw that bias out the window and take a look at their newest album, Signed And Sealed In Blood, which comes out today (1/7/13).
It's sort of hard to believe that this is the same band that released Do Or Die way back in 1996. But in reality, they aren't. Mike McColgan left in 1998. Guitarist Rick Barton was gone by 2001. Original piper Joe Delany has been replaced twice. Drummer Matt Kelly joined in '97, after Do Or Die. This is really just Ken Casey's band, now. You can see the steady turnover of band members and how the sound has changed over the last decade and a half. After 2001's Sing Loud, Sing Proud!, the band's celtic-punk sound slowly started evolving into more straightforward celtic-rock. And I can't complain. A lot of old-school fans deride "Sunshine Highway", the lead single off 2005's The Warrior's Code, which is easily one of my top-3 favorite Murphys tracks. But it's not like they've been putting out shitty music. Sure, the change in sound has found them more mainstream attention, and you can't go to like, any professional sports game ever without hearing "Shipping Up To Boston", but they've released consistantly good albums.
Well. Until now. It's hard to figure out where to begin with Signed And Sealed In Blood. I want to start off with the positives, but they're really aren't many. "The Season's Upon Us", a single released in time for Christmas, is probably the only song on the whole album worth listening to.
Actually, I guess that could be my entire review. Skip the album, go buy the xmas 7" instead.
The sound of the band's kept evolving, and it's just like..I don't know quite how to say it. They've contracted whatever AC/DC has, where all the songs sound the same, and not in a good way. The opening track, "The Boys Are Back" is annoyingly repetitive, and that sort of carries across the entire album.
This is the same band that wrote "Fightstarter Karaoke", "Never Alone", and "Pipebomb On Lansdowne St." I'd like to say I don't know what's happened to them, but it's pretty clear that the fame and fortune is starting to go to their heads.